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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Proposals and Problems

This is Steven Petrick posting.

One of the fun-filled parts of working here at Amarillo Design Bureau is proposals. We want proposals, but proposals vary.

We recently got one that wanders once more into the forbidden realm of "the called shot". This is a concept that keeps coming up, that once you have destroyed your opponent's shield you can, for some cost (usually an overall reduction in the number of damage points) destroy specific things on the target ship. Like for example all of the photons on a Federation ship, or all of the shuttle boxes on that Hydran ship (taking out his fighters, or at least his ability to rearm them). Or any of a host of other targets.

The problem is that it turns the game into "who downs a shield and gets a couple of internals first", because everyone is going to target the things that make it impossible for the other guy to keep fighting, meaning he has to disengage with his otherwise healthy ship.

Another problem is the submission of new systems (whether weapons or just something new a ship can do) ideas.

One of the biggest problems with these is that they are often "unfinished", i.e., the author had an idea, but did not complete the rules. It is very difficult to deal with a rule for a new system that lacks such simple details as how much (much less what kind) of energy is required to operate it. But I get suggestions for "two turn arming" systems with no indication of how much power is needed. (It would be nice to know how much the designer thought it needed if he gave his system careful consideration before suggesting it.)

Then there are the ideas for new weapons in which the designer is convinced "they will only be used the way I think they will be used", which ends up with weapons that are oh so much more powerful if they are used the way the players would use them.

We need proposals, and have a proposals board and a proposals topic on line. New ideas help bring new challenges to Star Fleet Battles, Federation Commander, Federation & Empire, and indeed the whole Star Fleet Universe to keep that universe interesting not just for the new player, but for the veterans of the system.

It would just be a whole lot easier to develop the some of them if the writer would take the time to review his work, perhaps with a friend (you can at least find someone on line who is a gamer if there is no one nearby), and seriously consider the rules as they stand.

That means look not just at open space, but take the time to seriously ask yourself if your new weapon might be affected by a radiation zone in an adverse way (which in turn would mean that an ion storm is probably going to have an effect also). And keep in mind that we also now have the Magellanic Cloud (and their technologies) and the Omega Octant (and its technologies, but also consider the Qixa home space and its effects) to consider.